Streatham attacker was one of five most dangerous terrorists in Britain
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Sudesh Amman was judged by MI5 and counter-terrorism police to be one of five most dangerous terrorists in Britain in the days before he went on the rampage.
Powerless to prevent his automatic release from a three year and four month sentence after more serious charges against him had been dropped, the authorities put him under surveillance.
Less than a week after he walked free on January 23 his erratic behaviour so concerned security services and police that they decided to increase the monitoring to a full armed unit.
Only a handful of terrorists are considered so dangerous to merit what security sources describe as “the most extreme form of monitoring” available to police.
It was not the first time that concerns had been raised about Amman’s commitment to terror. The judge who sentenced him, prison officers, security services and police had all identified that he was a dangerous individual.
In spite of all of the warnings, the 20-year-old was free to stab two innocent members of the public in broad daylight on Streatham High Road on Sunday before he was shot dead by the undercover officers who were tailing him.
It has now emerged that he was originally arrested in May 2018 for preparing acts of terrorism after he posted threats to attack a gay rights activists at Speakers Corner and had posted images of a knives and a gun claiming that he was “armed and ready.”
Police and prosecutors are facing questions over why they did not pursue the more serious charges, which could have resulted in a life sentence.
The Crown Prosecution Service have failed to explain why he was instead charged with possessing and disseminating terrorist materials
Amman’s targeting of Speaker’s Corner suggests that he may have been linked to hate preacher Anjem Choudhary’s al-Muhajiroun, whose members were regulars at the Hyde Park meeting place.
A picture has emerged of a committed jihadist who had extremist views from a young age after he became radicalised online.
School friends from Stanmore, in north London, claimed that he told them “when I grow up I am going to be a terrorist” and recalled how he threatened to blow them up.
His “life goals”, scrawled inside a notepad later recovered by police were to die a martyr and go to “Jannah” – the afterlife.
Before his 18th birthday he had a number of brushes with the law and found himself before the courts for both possessing an offensive weapon and possession of cannabis.
On both occasions in the summer of 2017 he was sentenced to a referral order, but it is unclear whether his supervisors were aware that his offending was spiraling out of control.
If they did it does not appear they alerted the police, who only arrested Amman after they were tipped off by Dutch author Azazel van den Berg.
He had infiltrated encrypted chats in which Amman was calling for attacks on the streets of Britain.
“He was one of the most extreme in the group. I thought he was a dedicated jihadi,” Mr Van den Berg told the Telegraph.
Amman, using the fake name Abu Malik, was chatting to other extremists including a Belgian man using the profile Ebu Darda, who it is understood was later arrested for plotting an attack on Amsterdam’s red light district.
At one point he sent a picture of a knife apparently with two firearms on a Shahada flag with the phrase “Armed n rdy #April”. He went on to discuss April 3, which was designated “punish a Muslim day” by White Supremacists.
Amman also posted a link to a YouTube video of a gay-right activist known as Tan debating with at Speakers Corner with the message “guys in the uk this should be ur target”.
Amman wrote they should “all unite together to attack one another. He [Tan] will be there this Sunday at Hyde Park”.
In other messages he said that they should “make a kuffar drown in his own blood”.
Alongside discussions about video games such as Fortnite, Amman and the Belgian terrorist had discussed attacking with crossbows and chemical weapons.
“He was very radical”, Mr Van den Berg said. “He was very far on in his chats to do something and it looked like he was going to target Hyde Park.”
He called the police and Amman was arrested for preparing acts of terrorism in May 2018. On the advice of prosecutors he was later charged with lesser offences.
Tan, who has since returned to his native Malaysia, said that he had received a number of threats to his safety, but police never warned him about Amman’s call to attack.
He had no contact from officers telling him there was a threat in April or May 2018, at the time when police were aware that Amman had identified him as a target on jihadist message boards.
“Of course I would have liked it if they had charged him with a more serious offence”, he said.
As they searched the Harrow home that Amman shared with his mother and five younger brothers, police unearthed reams of extremist material including bomb making manuals as well as an airgun and a combat knife.
In messages on a family WhatsApp group he posted a link to an Al-Qaeda magazine and “promoted extremist ideology” to his brothers aged just 15, 13, and 11.
He told his 11-year-old brother of the rewards of jihadi and sent his pictures of Isis child soldiers, the court heard.
Judge Mark Lucraft QC told him: “This is not in my view an immature fascination with graphic violence or with a taboo subject but the acts of someone with, for whatever reason or motivation, an ideological belief.”
The North West London College student, who had once dreamed of being a biomedical scientist, pleaded guilty to six counts of possessing a document containing terrorist information, and seven counts of disseminating a terrorist publication.
The judge noted that he had “strong and often extreme views on jihad, the kuffar, and your desire to carry out a terror attack” and was obsessed with a knife rampage.
“Your interest in Islamic extremism and Daesh appears to be more than just an immature fascination,” the judge said. “It seems to me on the material here that you are someone with sincerely held and concerning ideological beliefs.”
The court also heard that Amman had told his girlfriend that he had pledged allegiance to Isis and that she should kill her “kuffar” parents.
Speaking on the condition of anonymity, she said on Monday that whilst he had not hurt her physically he had done so “emotionally and psychologically”.
“I just live in fear – it shouldn’t be like this,” she said as she added: “I didn’t believe in his ideology, I didn’t condone it, I didn’t agree with it and I never will, but I couldn’t stop it.”
Amman had refused to co-operate with the police and probation service and in prison there were increasing fears about his behaviour.
A source told the Telegraph: “There was clearly a lot of concern about Amman. In jail he had made no attempt to denounce Islamic State or any attempt to hide his extremist and violent views.”
Sentencing rules meant that he was automatically released after serving half of his three years and four month term.
One of the few people known to have seen him in the week between his arrest and launching the attack was his mother, Haleema Khan, 41.
“He wasn’t even a very devoted Muslim. He got radicalised while he was in Belmarsh Prison,” she said of her “lovely boy” in the wake of the attack.
Speaking from her home in Bedfordshire she added: “He got into all this on the internet, but when he went to prison something happened to him.”
She saw him twice last week at his bail hostel in Streatham, south London and little did she know as he asked for his favourite meal of mutton biryani there was a surveillance team sitting outside.
The Executive Liaison Group (ELG), comprised of senior MI5 officers and Met Police officers, including Assistant Commissioner Neil Basu, were so concerned that he posed an “imminent threat” that a surveillance unit had been ordered to watch him.
One well-placed source said only the most dangerous terror suspects are put under armed surveillance, and the Telegraph understands that at any one time there are no more than 15 suspects considered to pose the greatest threat and that within that only a handful – possibly as few as five – are watched round the clock by an armed unit.